Patton Oswalt Remembers Late Wife Michelle McNamara After Golden State Killer's Sentencing

Patton Oswalt Michelle McNamara
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Patton Oswalt is remembering his late wife, Michelle McNamara, as the Golden State Killer was sentenced to life in prison on Friday. Before her death, the comedian's wife had researched and began writing a true-crime book about the serial killer, who terrorized California during the 1970s and ‘80s by murdering 12 people and raping 50 others.
"The insect gets none of my headspace today. I’m thinking of the victims, and the survivors, and the witnesses and crusaders and investigators. And of course Michelle. Go forward in peace, all of you," Oswalt tweeted along with photos of his wife.

McNamara died unexpectedly in 2016. Her 10-year journey to identify the killer was documented in the book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, which was finished with the help of Oswalt, crime writer Paul Haynes and investigative journalist Billy Jensen. Not long after it was published posthumously in 2018, it debuted at the top spot of The New York Times’ nonfiction bestsellers list. Additionally, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Office later arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, using DNA evidence to identify him as the Golden State Killer.

During a 2018 appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Oswalt said he was "on adrenaline and sleeplessness" due to the bombshell development in the case after more than 40 years.

"Her book and the article that led to the book really amped up all the interest in the case, and really put a lot of focus on it," Oswalt said. "It was her dream...She always said, 'I don't care about credit. I want to know that he's in jail and now he's caught.' The bracelets are on and it feels like this thing that she wanted so badly is now done. Just feels amazing." 

McNamara's work was recently highlighted in the HBO docuseries I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. Released in June, it chronicles the investigation from start to finish and takes a closer look at McNamara’s own life through archival footage, police files, new interviews with detectives, survivors and family members as well as recordings of McNamara’s own words and excerpts of her book read by Oscar nominee Amy Ryan.


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